Not Necessary

07 May

quadroon – n.  a person of one-quarter black ancestry

Classical Usage:  In Chapter 1 HBS describes Harry as “a small quadroon boy,” then later just a few pages later she describes his mother as “a young quadroon woman.”

Classically Mad Usage:  I’m no math scholar, but something about the definition and Stowe’s usage doesn’t add up unless Harry’s father was 3/4 black, but we learn later that is unlikely, so maybe this is just a word she uses to mean that they have light skin?  I’m not sure, but I think I’ll steer away from using it.


Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Uncle Tom's Cabin


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4 responses to “Not Necessary

  1. Jeannette

    May 7, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Is it just generic for 1/4 black or less?

    • Christina Joy

      May 7, 2012 at 10:02 am

      Maybe so, it turns out that they actually had words for almost every possible percentage, so maybe HBS was mocking them by using them generally, rather than specifically, showing that none of it actually mattered.

  2. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    May 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    While reading, I wrote the word down to be looked up later. When I came back to it, I couldn’t remember what context it was used in. The first thing I thought of was the doubloon from Moby-Dick, so I guessed it was a coin.


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